Showsight - November 2017

Lack of drive, little flexion of stifles and hock.

Overreaching causing the dog to crab.

“Sound driving rear action” at a phase of the trot showing flexing of hocks and stifles, good reach of hind feet well forward under the body and correct topline.

“Free moving and elegant in action.” This dog shows wonderful reach and drive, correct topline and tail carriage.

standing. If a dog is straight (upright shoulder blades and steep upper arm) in front assembly and is over angulated in the rear, the dog has too much “drive” behind and the hind feet will have to pass the front foot to the side (over reaching) leading the dog to move at an angle to the direction of movement— i.e. crabbing. To move “true” the dog needs to move both feet on each side in the same plane. If the feet are tracking properly, then the dog will move “parallel” or “straight and true”. I believe that if a dog is coming towards me, I should see only “two legs” as in a horse coming down the center line in dressage. Cavaliers should not single track when viewed from in front or behind— they have a low centre of gravity and as they should not be moved around the show ring at great speed. There should not be any tendency for the feet to converge! The legs should provide a straight column of support under the dog. Any deviation such as cow hocks, bowed hocks or crooked fronts will lead to excessive strain on the joints and ligaments. The conditioning and musculature should not be underestimated—no mat- ter how perfect a dog’s bone structure might be, it will be unable to move as its structure would suggest, if it’s unfit

and lacking in strong and responsive muscles and ligaments. It is these liga- ments and muscles which enable a dog to move its bones from place to place! These begin to develop early in life and growing puppies, if given too little exercise or confined to a puppy pen, may never develop strong ligaments. Too much or prolonged exercise and encouraging fast development with high protein foods may lead to mal- formed bone growth and problems later in life. Steady growth gains, free exercise when and for as long as the puppy wishes is best and will hope- fully result in a good moving dog when mature. Conditioning and the sensible development of fitness and muscles can make dramatic improvement to the movement of a dog with basically good structure but who is slack and soft in muscle tone. And last, but not least, the dog’s temperament, attitude and training. You can have the best constructed and best conditioned Cavalier but if the dog doesn’t want to move with drive and enthusiasm, its virtues will never be revealed to the judge in the show ring. Some wonderful dogs drive their owners to distraction through active or passive noncooperation (I speak from experience here) while oth- ers show with flair and joie de vivre,

demonstrating glorious, easy ground covering and true movement. You know they will show this just as eas- ily in parks and gardens as in the ring. Watching our Cavaliers move with joy and animation, forms a great part of the pleasure we derive from our dogs. It’s our responsibility to breed and develop the whole Cavalier: the melt- ingly, beautiful expression; the ame- nable, loving temperament; the silky- coated beauty but also one who can live a long and active life free from pain and discomfort because of its correct con- formation and ease of movement. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeanie Montford, Elvenhome Cava- liers, a founding member of ACKCSC, has a long and successful history in our breed. She started breeding Cava- liers in the early 1970s and has bred and/or owned over 100 Cavalier Champions, has over 30 All Breed BIS and over 30 Specialty BIS winners, in Australia and internationally. She has been a licensed judge since 1980 and has judged in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, USA, Peru, Sweden, Finland and Japan. She is one of only three judges who have the honor of being asked to judge our National Specialty twice!


Powered by